The price of natural gas has also been affected by what my energy systems professor fondly refers to as the "Gods of Energy Planning Foolishness". During the oil embargo in the 70's, because of various media hype jobs and general stupidity, natural gas was forbidden to be used for anything other than heating. Once that regulation was lifted people started building power plants using it because it's cheaper, more efficient, and cleaner. As well, the price has been cheaper because it isn't burdened with the taxes that oil is, mostly because it isn't nearly as prevalent in the transportation market.
Another item to note about the price of natural gas is that unlike fuel oil, which is refined from crude of which the majority is imported from the middle east, natural gas production is almost entirely domestic (or at least continental). Therefore you (indirectly, and over the long term) will have much greater control over your fuel than if you rely on oil.
I believe that it will take very little time for the floor to fall out from under gas prices, simply because there is a ton of supply that is currently being flared off because the past price of gas has been too low to economically transport it from more distant wellheads to metropolitan centres. With these new high prices, companies will be scrambling to cap those flares and hook the wells up to the nearest pipeline. The historic trend for natural gas has been to be ~1/3 the cost of oil, and I can't see this latest spike lasting in the long term.
Furthremore, something you might want to consider in your economic analysis are "external" costs. The price of oil, furnace, and storage are internal, but did you think about the costs of using a dirtier (higher C content) fuel? These include increased particulate matter in the home (long term medical expenses), aesthetic cost (try moving a painting on a light-coloured wall after a few months, you'll be able to see where it was quite easily because of the soot), noise, and although it's hardly immediate the environmental cost of the increased pollution. These costs are rarely considered, but they do exist and must be considered for a truly "fair" comparison. I think if you look at all of the costs, you will find natural gas comes out much better.
Finally, the notion of being able to convert to a residential small-scale power generation is a good one, but it probably won't show up as anything other than early-adopter fodder for quite some time (despite what the companies might say). Some interesting reading is here and here.
P.S.: RGRistroph, please be careful if you're going to talk about fuel cells, get a book or at least read something like this, or a good thermodynamics text, and figure out how they work before you start misinforming people. I have no idea where you got the 2x figure from but I would learn to be more skeptical.
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